Nicole Janz @PolSciReplicate, Michael @Colaresi and I have new articles in the International Studies Perspectives journal’s special symposium on replication and transparency in academic research. Recent scandals over questionable research underscore the importance of the topic.
The paradigm wars between quantitative and qualitative methodologists have focused on the validity and reliability of theory testing, with increasing concerns for transparency in both types of work. But not all research topics lend themselves to theory testing and, rather, require the generation of new theoretical concepts. The relative lack of attention to the “why” and “how” of qualitative theory generation has stunted innovation, forcing scholars to avoid such work or “reinvent the wheel” rather than build on community accomplishments. This article shows that grounded theory methods from sociology provide useful techniques for theory generation and can help scholars break through theoretical muddles. These methods have the added benefit of utilizing a workflow management that lends itself to more transparency than is common in much qualitative work. This article concludes by suggesting steps to boost transparency for grounded theory in international relations and push out the knowledge frontier.
Nils Weidmann has a concluding article where he expands on these ideas:
Because of the problems that might arise in extending replication to data generationand management, most contributors agree that for quantitative analyses, the replication material should include the replication data set and code to generate tables and figures. For qualitative analysis, replication is considerably more difficult. Some of the articles in this forum provide helpful suggestions for improving transparency at various stages of the research process. Tucker (2016) proposes to apply grounded theory used for theory building in sociology to inter national relations research. Although this does not imply that more, and other types of, replication material would be distributed along with the article, it does mean that the article itself will be much more detailed when it comes to the statements from which theory is derived.